This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It was a bone of contention in past relationships where I compromised it for the sake of my partner’s comfort zone, and while it’s something that’s still important, I’m finding that my polyamorous needs are redefining themselves as I move through the final stages of my recovery from that relationship.
First, for those that aren’t quite as familiar with polyamory as others, know first that it means different things to different people, but the common threads are honesty, respect, and (obviously) openness. For me personally, it means that I reserve the right to carry on a relationship with someone to the logical extent of the emotional energy we share, and I allow myself to do that potentially with multiple partners. That means that if Tom and I share a moderate sexual chemistry and like to geek out but there isn’t a lot of practicality in becoming solidly primary, then we’re going to enjoy each other’s company without a stated commitment, and if we meet other people, that’s totally cool. If George and I share an intense or specialized sexual chemistry but have little else in common, we know we can call each other for a potential hook-up to “scratch an itch” and it doesn’t have to be more than that. Likewise, if Harry and I are deeply compatible on many levels and find ourselves experiencing a deeper emotional bond naturally, we might take that to a more committed and serious level.
The high point of all of this for me is that excusing myself from the social pressures to try to make every relationship a “forever and always” allows us to each be far more honest with ourselves and with each other. If Harry and I decide to make a stab at a long-term thing, it’s because that’s what we feel is right for us – not what’s right because that’s what it says to do in the script.
All that having been said, of late, I’ve been thinking more about what kind of long-term thing I might one day like to enjoy. As my emotional needs change, I find that I have a lower tolerance for the lifestyle incompatibilities of Mr. Right-Now, and I feel a little guilty monopolizing the time of Mr. Sometimes. Mr. Right is still a figment of a poorly-formed imagination, but it’s becoming more and more clear by the day.
This is new for me.
At the same time, I’m hesitant to actually state clearly that if Mr. Right was everything I ever wanted and needed, I’d consider monogamy because what if someone thinks that he could be that but falls short? Granted, that’s just a side-effect of dating in general – you go out, you learn about each other, you decide if this is something that you want to pursue, and a lot of times it doesn’t really work out. But when there seems to be more on the line, when something appears to be more desirable and there’s a greater “reward” at the end, getting let down can be harder.
Ironically, the man that would understand this would probably also be closer to my ideal…
As I write this, I also realize that probably the best place to start with defining Mr. Right would be that he’d have to also be poly, and that he’d have to have some experience in it first. (I am not a start-up company willing to train from the ground up, usually.) And he’d have to be honest and self-assured enough to be up front about it. (I’ve met a few poly guys who have become gun-shy because while they may or may not be dating other people at that moment, they still want to explore with a person that may or may not be okay with it.)
I freely admit that a great deal of this impulse of late has a lot to do with time constraints and evolving job schedules. I had to pretty much stop dating altogether when I started at the car dealership because when you work 60 hours a week, kids come before nookie – and that doesn’t leave hardly any nookie time that also couldn’t be better spent doing laundry. Now that I’m shifting to a more regular schedule, I don’t really want to give up my kid and writing time, so what the heck. Maybe I can settle on one fellow for a while, until, of course, things change again – which is why mutual polyness is probably necessary.
Who knows? Maybe this is all a ruse to fool myself into settling down again.
(Yeah, I got a chuckle out of that, too.)